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FLEXO Magazine : May 2008
FTA TODAY In the 1990s, to its credit, and to the benefit of the indus- try, FTA expanded its involvement with schools, be they high school, college, or technical institute. The Flexo in High School Program was born and continues to be a success to the present day. Since 2000, FTA's contributions toward higher quality in competition with other print processes have proven truly significant. FTA continues to facilitate the education of our industry. SHIELDS: FTA quickly established itself as the worldwide leader in flexo. Each decade continued pushing the quality and growth of flexo. BART: In the 1960s, FTA succeeded in expanding the sharing of technical information through the organization. Then, in the 1970s, it began seeking out new technologies to showcase. In the 1980s, FTA turned to promoting flexogra- phy as printing as well as converting, by showcasing indus- try printing capabilities to CPCs and expanding the printing awards competition. In the 1990s, FTA proved itself the leader in driving the attention to training and promoting the need for process control. And since 2000, FTA has been supporting the im- portance of prepress for the industry and providing the stage for the transition from analog to digital workflow. SHREVE: Overall, the most significant contribution has to be the formation of the Foundation. Not only did the industry receive a venue for scholarships to be established and distributed to worthy future employees in 1974, but the association in general benefited financially. HARPER: FTA, from the very beginning, provided an opportunity to learn and to hone my skills. Just the simple process of preparing for a presentation was a learning expe- rience. It gave me confidence and allowed me to share tech- nical information with the industry. FTA has always been the most professional and best man- aged organization with which I have been associated. Its positive, undeniable focus on flexography has been crucial to its success. SHAPIRO: In the 1960s, the early members of FTA and its Board had one objective-how to make flexography more than a rubber stamp process. FTA was driven by printers then. The small group was dedicated, not to their own firms, but to the organization and the improvements needed to train, develop and make consistent this process they had embraced. In the 1970s, there was a concentration on process print- ing. The real highlight of the decade, however, was the establishment of the Foundation of FTA. Here again, the - Board was a dedicated group, working to build the orga- nization and its ability to reach out and promote a more knowledgeable industry and customer base. It succeeded in getting support for funding for educational and research proj ects. The 1980s, the beginning of the environmental period, saw the spread of flexo to new fields. By necessity, the as- sociation and its membership began focusing on environ- mental regulations, as well as compliance and reporting procedures. In the 1990s, the environment came into focus. We held meetings around the country and helped printers to cope with the variety of new conditions they faced due to govern- mental regulation. This regulatory period brought improve- ments in equipment and materials. Since 2000, the face of the flexo industry has changed. Where small and medium size companies were at the fore- front of change and innovation, the consolidation of both suppliers and converters has narrowed the number of people and competitive nature of companies, so that we do not see the energy that existed when innovation was a key to mak- ing a success in the market. FTA and its sister organizations now need to promote creativity and excellence, as well as Lean Manufacturing principles. FTA Forums and workshops must stress methods of per- formance to bring higher quality at lower costs to the table. MCGEE: In the 1960s, bringing a young and somewhat undisciplined industry, made up of aniline printers, into the new "flexographic" process of printing; and doing so through an organized and focused trade association, with a common voice and common goals, was both a real challenge and true success. In the 1970s, focusing on the potential flexography holds for all types of label and packaging printing, and then driv- ing home the need for quality and productivity enhance- ments within the process, across all segments serviced by flexo printers, ranks as a true accomplishment of FTA. In the 1980s, working to establish print standards and organizing committee's to address the growing needs of proper management of the flexo process, proved worthwhile. Then, in the 1990s, bringing the voice of the print buyer to the industry, by positioning flexo as a print process capable of challenging the established print processes of gravure and offset was FTA's triumph. This decade, the emphasis, rightfully so, has been on flexo as a process in control. FTA is stressing understanding your variables and focusing in on meeting and exceeding customer expectations through the use of flexography. RIDDELL: In the1960s, the industry was young and had not yet earned the notice or respect of its printing peers, such as litho and gravure. Flexography was originally named MAY 2008 www.flexography.org FLEXO